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Not that it matters to interracial couples, but Americans near unanimity in approval

Back in 1958 four percent of Americans told the Gallup Poll they approved of blacks and whites inter-marrying.

This morning Gallup reports 86% of Americans approve, up from 48% in 1991.

"Americans are approaching unanimity," Gallup says, and "have undergone a major transformation" coinciding with the half-century life of the country's first black president, the product of just such an interracial marriage.

Blacks have always been more approving of interracial marriage than whites, but the gap has shrunk during the past two decades.

Even senior citizens, the least approving of population subgroups, are fine with it now at 66%. The shift in thinking has been particularly dramatic among Americans over age 50, with 78% approving today compared to 27% in 1991 -- a remarkable shift of 51 points.

Men approve slightly more than women, 87% to 85%. Those aged 18 to 29 approve 97%, 30 to 49 is 91%, 50 to 64 is 88% and 65+ is 66%.

Westerners approve the most (91%), Easterners next (90%), then Midwesterners (85%) and Southerners (79%).

Those with a high school education or less approve the least (78%) compared to those with post-graduate degrees (94%).

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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